Debbie Horwitz is a breast cancer survivor and project creator for Myself: Together Again, a foundation assisting breast cancer patients and survivors considering reconstruction after mastectomy.
Ever since elementary school I can remember the feelings I would have as Valentine’s Day approached.
The excitement of wondering which boys or girls were going to leave a nice Valentine note with candy in my homemade box. Today I still get excited as Valentine’s day draws near, but for different reasons.
This year marks the third year that we have organized a women’s fundraiser for my foundation: Myself: Together Again.
I am a young breast cancer survivor. Shortly after my diagnosis I began a project which involved being photographed, after my double mastectomy surgery and during my breast reconstruction journey, in order for there to be pictures for the women who would come behind me and face this disease and the choices that follow.
The project grew over time and we eventually sought and received funding from our local Triangle Komen Affiliate.
We developed a booklet and website shortly thereafter.
Today, our funding comes from donations and booklet sales and the foundation has been accessed by women and individuals from all over the world.
On February 12, 2008, Myself: Together Again and Scout and Molly’s Boutiques of Raleigh once again hosted our annual Pre Valentine’s Event where women shopped and enjoyed a night out with the girls and in the process made a generous contribution to the M:TA Project.
The owner of Scout and Molly’s, Lisa Disbrow, proposed the idea and was willing to donate 20 percent of her sales on this day to our foundation. I was touched by her proposal and her insight.
This was the third annual event, and as we began planning, I was reminded of how magical it has always been.
Lisa and her team get the store set up, while I, along with a small group of volunteers, family and friends prepare gift boxes full of donated spa goodies.
My booklets are laid across the clothing shelves and tables, and photographs of my body fill the walls.
When the guests finally arrive to shop and mingle it amazes us that the room is filled with people who are making a difference and supporting a worthy cause. It is a night that makes me so proud to be a woman.
Then, when the night ends, the clean-up is over and the exhaustion finally sets in, I remember that it’s almost Valentine’s Day and I can’t imagine a better reason to celebrate.